I often talk on my Profitable Play Podcast and on my YouTube channel about Instagram, Facebook, and Google Ads. After all, they’re some of the easiest and most common ways for small businesses like indoor playgrounds to get their products and services in front of their ideal local customers in a way that’s much more cost-effective than something like printed direct mailers.
Plus, these ad platforms give us data we can use to measure our results and make data-driven, informed decisions about if we should continue utilizing them based on ROI, or return on investment– way more so than more traditional advertising avenues such as radio or newspaper and magazine print ads.
While Google Ads are a bit more complicated and can be more expensive than Facebook and Instagram ads, they can be extremely effective for attracting HOT leads to your most significant offers in your business, such as birthday party bookings.
In fact, it’s often touted as the most effective form of generating bookings by the members of Play Maker Society who utilize them. And you don’t need to edit them NEARLY as often as Facebook or Instagram ads– so these are advertisements just running in the background of their businesses– popping up whenever anyone searches phrases they’ve pre-selected into google such as, “first birthday party venue in my area” or “indoor playground buffalo new york”.
And this type of advertising is called SEARCH advertising because ONLY the people actively looking for services just like yours are seeing your ads and therefore you aren’t wasting impressions and ad spend on people casually scrolling through facebook– not looking to make a purchase then and there.
Now if you’re in Play Maker Society you already have our advanced google ads training– BUT one of the things I love about Google Ads over Facebook and Instagram ads is that– because of this higher level of difficulty and unknown– FAR less small businesses like indoor playgrounds actually end up putting them into practice. This makes them a MUCH less saturated platform, which in turn makes it much easier and less expensive to see great results.
However, this episode is NOT about Facebook, Instagram, OR google ads. Because, what if I told you there’s another advertising platform where around 45% of your customers are hanging out– that is even LESS saturated than Google Ads?
Now– to get the answer– I want you to think back to the last time you needed inspiration or ideas for a project or celebration. Maybe it was for your child’s first birthday, or maybe it was for a cute 30th birthday photo shoot, or maybe it was for kitchen inspiration for your next DIY project. Or maybe it was a cool activity you could create to keep your toddler busy. Or maybe it was when you were planning your indoor playground. Where did you search for inspiration? Think of a few different places.
Now, let me ask you, did Pinterest come to mind?
What was once a social media platform waning in popularity due to the rise of instagram– Pinterest has seen a SURGE of usage in the past several years and, according to Shopify, around 45% of households in the US with household incomes over $100k actively use Pinterest.
Now, if you’re like me, you probably think of pinning as something bloggers or e-commerce companies use to promote their products. Something not fit for small local businesses.
But what if I told you that advertising on Pinterest can allow you to combine the best of search engine (i.e. Google) and social media (i.e. Instagram and Facebook) advertising: the ability to have your ads shown to users who are actively searching for products like yours, accompanied by the capability to promote your services to users passively browsing through pins.
Sounds incredible, right?
Well here’s what’s even better– you can actually target all of your ads on Pinterest to be served ONLY in your local area to potential customers who fit your ideal customers parameters– very similar to interest and demographic based targeting on Facebook and Instagram.
So just imagine, someone in your local area who has an 8 month old and hasn’t had the chance to visit your space yet is sitting down to feed her baby and is casually typing “first birthday theme” into Pinterest. Now, imagine a picture of YOUR beautiful space with pictures of a cute and creative first birthday party popping up and, since you included your town name in the pin name– it catches her eye. She might be thinking, “oooh, what’s this place?”-- causing her to click over to your website and browse your packages and look at pictures of your space.
Now not only is she aware of your space for the party she is clearly already planning– which could lead to a booking then and there– she also has now been on your website and your booking page specifically. And this is when a holistic advertising ecosystem that I promote so often comes into play.
Because now that she’s been on your website, because you installed your Facebook Pixel Tracking code back in episode 14 of the Profitable Play Podcast and set up Facebook and Instagram ads up to RETARGET the visitors of your website and booking pages back in episode 31 of the Profitable Play Podcast– even if this person does not have the time or will to make a booking then and there– you can now show up in her news feed on Facebook and Instagram until she IS ready to make that booking.
So much of advertising is simply staying top of mind for your customer, so I absolutely LOVE this strategy of creating all these ads that work together as an extremely efficient and cost-effective strategy to generate bookings.
And the best part? As I mentioned at the top of the episode– these are ALL ads you set up ONE time– and then simply monitor or update as needed– maybe every few months. These are not things that require constant maintenance. Once you do the original optimization when setting the ads up which takes a few weeks at most– where you work out any kinks and make any needed tweaks to your creative or targeting– you are good to go.
And please don’t let any ad guru tell you that you need to test 50 headlines with 50 versions of copy and 50 different images or spend hundreds of dollars a day to be effective. About 95% of information out there about ads is geared towards businesses that do business nationally or worldwide and have hundreds or thousands of competitors– making it MUCH more difficult for them to reach their exact ideal customers.
For us small local businesses – sure, we don’t have as large of a potential customer base– but we also have a much smaller net we need to cast. It CAN be very doable to reach ALL the parents in your local area without a huge budget or fancy strategies. And that’s why I created my Facebook and Instagram Ads Course for Indoor Playground Business Owners– specifically for OUR business model– sharing ONLY what you need and nothing you don’t.
I will soon be adding a Pinterest ads training to that course as a bonus for anyone who has purchased it– past or future– and will also be adding a training to Play Maker Society in the first quarter of 2023. I have been testing Pinterest ads and let me tell you– I have been BLOWN away by the results and it’s potential.
So if you are a member or have purchased my ads course– hang tight– you will have everything you need to execute this strategy shortly.
But if you’re NOT a member or if you’re eager to set things into motion– here are 5 basic tips to help you get started with Pinterest Ads!
This one isn’t Pinterest specific, but I still felt I should mention it here. Regardless of the platform you’re using, high-quality professional images will undoubtedly make your ads perform better in most cases. This is especially true if you are showcasing your play area or party decor.
There are some exceptions- as I have seen more on-they-fly and authentic content perform better than professional images in some cases. This is because more casual looking photos on Instagram and Facebook can sometimes make ads look like organic posts– increasing the likelihood people will engage with it.
However, on Pinterest specifically, there isn’t as much on-the-fly sharing by users, meaning the majority of photos on the platform are high-quality in nature. Unless you are sharing video content, professional photos are a must for appearing as a legitimate business on Pinterest.
Investing in professional photos is something I can’t recommend enough- as you can repurpose these into dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of marketing assets that will help boost your sales and bookings. This is just one of many use cases.
Video Pins. Video Pins are a great way to still use that standard format but make your ad appear even more eye-catching by adding some animation using Canva OR a video as a pin. I recommend making these videos or animations between 5 and 15 seconds long based on my research and my own results. And you can checkout my Pinterest account to see examples of everything I’m referring to here which I have linked in the show notes. You can either make a standard format vertical video pin, or instead choose a wide version. The maximum width ad is four times bigger, making a square that goes over two columns. These will cost a bit more per impression, but will likely be more effective in capturing the attention of your potential customers. I love this idea because, while someone may be searching for birthday theme ideas on Pinterest, they may not be looking for venues (yet). Using this larger size will help prevent them from simply scrolling past your ad unnoticed.
Carousel Pins. If you have taken my Facebook and Instagram ads course, Carousel Pins on Pinterest are very similar to the carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram, except in the standard 9:16 Pinterest sizing. You can use this to promote a series of pictures or theme ideas, tips you want to share, or just as an opportunity to share more information on the ad itself, before a browser has to actually click over to your website to learn more about your indoor playground business. This can be helpful since people tend to want to stay on Pinterest for as long as possible before disrupting their session.
Idea Pins. Also known as story pins, these allow you to share multiple forms of media like videos, images, and text– all on a single promoted pin. You can tap through their “pages” like you would slides in an Instagram story. Idea pins work well for “how-to” demonstrations, lists, a set of tips, or other educational content. And similar to TikTok, you can select music and record voice-overs, making the content even more engaging. You can also add detail pages for specifics or sources, instructions, next steps, booking information, and more. This is a great way to back as much information as possible into ONE ad– and it is similar in concept (though not execution necessarily) to collection ads on Facebook which I also cover in my course linked in the show notes. The idea is that you are sharing your services in a multimedia experience so your potential customer can really gain a sense of what your business has to offer– all before clicking over to your website.
One of the biggest mistakes many business owners, and especially indoor playground owners in my experience, make when running ads on any platform is to send browsers right to their homepage.
This is almost never a best practice, because there are far too many options and potential destinations for that person to take. You should be sending users instead directly to the content that they’re expecting to see after they click on your pin– otherwise, they will get frustrated and click away– likely skipping your pins moving forward.
If you are advertising a specific birthday theme– send them to a blog article about a party you hosted with that theme full of tips. Of course, on this podcast I have mentioned many times how important it is to include call-to-actions, links, and clickable images inside of your blog posts to convert readers into bookings– so no need to worry about losing out on bookings by sending people to a blog.
You will see higher conversions using this strategy because you are starting the relationship with your potential customer off on the right foot– you are showcasing that you are the authority on birthday parties in their area and are already providing help and value to them which works to earn trust with them.
And if you can sprinkle reviews or customer testimonials inside of your blog– this will also work to establish your business as reliable and trustworthy without being overtly sale-sy. You can also sprinkle lead magnet links– maybe to a birthday party guide or downloadable list of tips– for people who want to continue learning from you and remain in communication but are not quite ready to make that booking.
I recommend testing sending users to both your birthday party landing page– maybe to a Pinterest specific deal or landing page if you’re a bit more advanced and experienced with pay-per-click advertising– and things like blog posts or tip lists. Every business is different, so discovering what works best for you is key to successfully utilizing any ad platform, including Pinterest.
And if you recall from back in episode 155 of the Profitable Play Podcast, once you get users to ANY page on your website, they will now be available to re-target in ads on Instagram or Facebook as long as you have your Facebook Pixel installed which I discuss in detail in episode 14 of my podcast. This also works to ensure you will be staying top-of-mind with those customers who are not quite ready to book during that initial visit but may in the future.
Your creative (i.e. the video or photo you have used as a promoted pin) will be what catches your potential customers’ attention, but the description adds a lot of context and helps make your content searchable. Because as I mentioned in the last episode, Pinterest ads ARE searchable– just like organic pins– which just ads to their effectiveness
. People don’t really use Facebook or Instagram as search engines, which is just one more reason I love Pinterest ads. It helps connect people ACTIVELY looking for your products and services to your business more easily.
When putting together your description, which can be longer than an organic pin’s description capping out at 500 characters, it really explains to users what the pin is about and why they should click– don’t just state your business name or your mission statement.
When it comes to Pinterest, it’s better to offer explanations as to why your product or service is valuable or what they can expect to see or read when they click, instead of just stating what is likely obvious by the imagery of your pin.
And also– skip the hashtags as this is an out-dated Pinterest strategy that is no longer recommended or considered a best practice.
Very similar to the Facebook Pixel which we discuss in episode 14 of The Profitable Play Podcast, Pinterest’s conversion tag will allow you to measure the success of your campaigns, telling you what actions users take on a site after they’ve clicked on your Pinterest ad. Instead of just measuring the number of clicks, you can actually track your return on investment, or ROI, based on what users did on your site AFTER clicking.
Now this isn’t a perfect science, especially if you use a third-party event booking software, but you can definitely gain an understanding of how engaged your website visitors coming from Pinterest are with your content regardless. This can help you make more data driven decisions regarding your campaign length and budget.
The conversion tag also lets you capture the website visitors coming from the ads, so that you can set up retargeting campaigns as we discussed in episode 155. And if you want to learn more about retargeting ads on Facebook and Instagram, go back and listen to episode 31 of the Profitable Play Podcast. Pinterest has their OWN retargeting ads you can utilize as well, but I absolutely love a multi-platform approach to stay top of mind as much as possible.
The pixel is made up of two different parts: the base code and the event code. The base code is unique to your Pinterest account and it lets you build retargeting campaigns based on site activity.
Event codes are a bit more advanced and are attached to the base code on pages where you want to track specific events, like conversions, add-to-carts, or leads. Again, this might get tricky if you are using a third party event booking or cart software that does now allow you to embed custom coding. If you are able to, however, you would add the checkout tag to the booking confirmation or thank-you page, which might only flag if users purchase or book, for example. And of course I am only using birthday party bookings as an example. You can use Pinterest to promote other revenue streams such as memberships, retail sales, and more.
If you are a Play Maker Society Member or have purchased my Facebook and Instagram Ads For Indoor Playground or Play Cafe Business Owners Course, I will be sure to include tutorials when I upload the Pinterest Ads training so you can have a step-by-step process to follow!
Alright I hope you enjoyed these 5 quick Pinterest advertising tips and if you’d to dig into my advanced training you can either enroll in my ads course I made specifically for indoor playground owners OR you can become a Play Maker Society member! T
And if you have any questions please feel free to DM me on instagram at my profile right here!
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